If you are a leader or aspire to become one, you might often look at other great leaders and wonder how they became successful. What can you learn from them and the experiences that shaped them? Did leading come naturally, or did they have to work at it? What can you do to follow in their footsteps?
The truth is that there is no one guaranteed path to follow to become an effective leader; everyone’s path is unique, and you need to form your own. While that might sound intimidating, the good news is that it doesn’t matter where you start; you can learn fundamental leadership principles.
Let’s take a look at some common starting points for leaders:
- Born to lead
Someone who is born into royalty, a very affluent family, or powerful political family would be a leader by tradition. This type of leader is extremely rare.
- Forced to lead via circumstances
Many people fall into this category. The circumstances that can force someone to become a leader against their natural will are diverse and could include having to respond to a crisis situation, or simply moving up the corporate ladder to make more money. In these and many other cases, taking on a leadership role is a necessary part of survival.
- Voluntarily lead
Those who volunteer to lead were not forced by birth nor necessity to do so. These people to be passionate and feel a true calling to their role. They are acutely aware of the need for leadership in their communities and strive to fill that role to the best of their abilities.
Although each of these starting points is unique, they all have great potential for developing into strong leaders. What makes a leader great is the actions that are taken as a leader – not how the leader got there in the first place. No matter which circumstance you most identify with today, you have the ability to become an effective leader in your work, your personal life, and your world.